New Study: State Spending on Poverty Really Pays Off for Kids

Posted by Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity on October 26, 2021

In a new study published in Pediatrics, researchers found that children significantly benefit when states spend money on programs that reduce poverty. Researchers found that for every additional $1,000 spent on federal, state, and local benefit programs per person living in poverty, there was a 4 percent reduction in child abuse and neglect, a 2 percent reduction in foster care placements, and an 8 percent reduction in child fatalities. Cash, housing assistance, housing infrastructure, childcare assistance, tax credits, and medical assistance were the types of spending included in the research. According to the study, spending $46.5 billion on programs, about a 13% increase, in 2017 would have meant 181,850 fewer reports of child abuse; more than 4,100 fewer foster care placements and 130 fewer children killed by abuse and neglect. The researchers conclude that not only does direct public spending have benefits to children in the short term, investment in these programs may also reduce the long-term costs of public health issues.

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